To most people’s astonishment, The Onion, a news outlet known for its fictionalized stories, wrote a heart-warming piece about late film critic and journalist Roger Ebert.
The headline of the Chicago Sun-Times critic’s obituary read: “Roger Ebert Hails Human Existence ‘A Triumph.’”
Twitter had been sending their virtual respects all day long when it was reported that the 70-year-old had succumb to a long battle with cancers of the thyroid and salivary gland.
In his honor, the succinct Onion article read:
"Calling the overall human experience 'poignant,' thought-provoking,' and a 'complete tour de force,' film critic Roger Ebert praised existence Thursday as 'an audacious and thrilling triumph.' 'While not without its flaws, life, from birth to death, is a masterwork, and an uplifting journey that both touches the heart and challenges the mind,' said Ebert, adding that while the totality of all humankind is sometimes 'a mess in places,' it strives to be a magnum opus and, according to Ebert, largely succeeds at this goal. 'At times brutally sad, yet surprisingly funny, and always completely honest, I wholeheartedly recommend existence. If you haven’t experienced it yet, then what are you waiting for? It is not to be missed.' Ebert later said that while human existence’s running time was 'a little on the long side,' it could have gone on much, much longer and he would have been perfectly happy."
Some tweeters were pleased with what the news site had done to honor Ebert, especially since some of their current headlines say things like, “'Syrians' Lives Are Worthless,' Obama Tells Daughters Before Kissing Them Goodnight," "Confusing Roadside Memorial Features Bicycle," "Rotary Telephone, Jug Of Some Kind" and "Kim Jong-Un, Justin Timberlake Meet To Pick New Pope, According To Shameless Attempt To Increase Web Traffic."
Ebert was arguably the most recognizable film critic. He began his career in 1967 and rose to fame in the 1970s and '80s with his co-host, Gene Siskel, on television shows like “Sneak Previews,” “At the Movies With Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert” and “Siskel and Ebert at the Movies.”
In 1975 he became the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize in Criticism.
He continued to work until Tuesday, when he announced via Twitter he'd be lightening his work load after his cancer had returned.
Ebert is survived by his wife, Chaz Hammelsmith, a step-daughter and two step-grandchildren.
The following is some of the responses to the way The Onion handled Ebert’s passing: